Research Paper: Project Management Is a Subject

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Project Management is a subject that has received a great deal of attention in recent years. The topic of Project Management is important because it informs the manner in which businesses operate. The purpose of this discussion is to examine the book Project Management a systems approach to planning, scheduling and controlling by Harold Kerzner.

Project Management a systems approach to planning, scheduling and controlling

The most relevant aspects of the book include the manner in which he explains how to go about managing projects, the manner in which he applies project management to different organizational structures, and the detailed oriented approach given for the development of a project management team. Kerzner presents all of these tools in an effort to make certain that project managers understand how to develop a team that will be successful.

In this book Kerzner explores the idea of Project management over the course of twenty-three chapters. The first chapter focuses on defining project management and the role that a project manager plays in the organization. Project Management is defined as the planning, organizing, directing and controlling of company resources for a relatively short-term objective (Kerzner).

Kerzner explains that,

"project management approach is relatively modern. It is characterized by methods of restructuring management and adapting special management techniques, with the purpose of attaining better control and use of existing resources. Forty years ago project management was confined to the U.S. Department of defense contractors and construction companies. Today the concept behind project management is being applied in such diverse industries and organizations as defense, construction, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, banking, hospitals, accounting, advertising, law, state and local governments and the United Nations (Kerzner, 2)."

In other words, Kerzner, through this book presents the idea that project management can be used in a myriad of industries for many different purposes. When project management is utilized appropriately it can have a positive effect on the overall business environment. Additionally, the proper use of project management can result in greater profitability for an organization.

The author also points out that some important objectives exist as it pertains to carrying out a successful project management plan. These objectives include completing the project within the allotted time and for the allotted costs. In addition project management objective are inclusive of completing the project at the desired performance level and in a manner that is acceptable to the client or the end user. All of these factors must be taken into consideration and implemented into the project plan.

The book also explains that there are advantages and disadvantages associated with project management. The advantages of a properly implemented project management strategy include identifying functional responsibilities, time limits for scheduling and a methodology for trade-off analysis. Other advantages include decreasing the need for continuous reporting, the ability to measure accomplishments against the plans that have been developed, understanding when objectives cannot be reached, improved ability to plan for the future and having the ability to notice problems early and fix them (Kerzner,3).

Kerzner also emphasizes the role that technology has played in the need for organizations to embrace project management. The author explains that the rapid growth of technology has led to a decrease in the amount of time that it takes to complete a project and an increase in the amount and type of projects that can be developed. With this understood, there is a greater need for project management. Such management allows organizations to control and monitor the development and completion of a project in a manner that is organized and thorough. Such management is important and necessary because it reduces cost, increases productivity and profitability.

Throughout the book the author focuses on the many different challenges that project managers will likely face over the next decade. Kerzner warns that managers must be able and willing to face these challenges and overcome them if success is to be realized. The challenges that Kerzner presents include high escalations factors such as salaries, and raw materials. The author also explains that project managers will be increasingly faced with issues associated with pressure from stockholders, increased union demands and the likelihood of long-term inflation followed by a recession. All of these factors must be taken into consideration when considering how to properly implement a project management strategy.

The author also explains that some of the ways in which managers have sought to remedy this issue in the past has resulted in the development of even more problematic situations. For instance, efforts to control the escalation of salaries have resulted in the reduction of staff. However, such a reduction can decrease profitability and as such the bottom line of the company. Because this is the case, companies must be careful to make the correct decisions as it pertains to management strategies. Throughout the book the author reiterates this point. Kerzner makes it clear through his assertions that managers must understand the responsibilities associated with their positions and the ways in which they can inform change in the context of the organizational environment. In particular the decisions that managers make influence the project management strategies that the organization adopts.

Throughout the book the author also makes salient points by using case studies. The use of case studies is important and effective because they provide an example of the types of mistakes that organizations have made in the past. In addition, these case studies demonstrate how an organization can achieve success. Each of the case studies presented contain information related to the information contained in the chapter. This was an excellent way of demonstrating ideas about the processes mentioned in the chapter.

Time management is also a topic that Kerzner emphasizes in the book. For instance, he dedicates a part of chapter six to time management. In this chapter the author explains factors that can lead to the improper management of time. The author explains that certain issues serve as time robbers for project managers. Problems such as understaffing, vague goals and objectives, badly educated customers, poor managers, not delegating the appropriate amount of responsibility and poor retrieval systems all rob managers of time. When time is not properly managed the results can be devastating and the project may not be completed on time or at all. The author also presents project managers with ways to avoid problems with time management. These solutions include the delegating of responsibility

The author also discusses the importance of a project manager knowing how to manage stress. According to Kerzner when stress is not managed properly, there can be a breakdown in communication and the project will fail. As such project managers must know when to step back from the project and delegate some responsibility to other people. The author also points out that stress is not necessarily a negative emotion. However when stress is not properly managed it can become a source of a great deal of contention.

The author also places a great deal of emphasis on the importance of planning. In the eleventh chapter of the book there are some specific tasks that the author explains as it pertains to planning. The author discuses everything from general planning, project specifications, fast tracking, configuration management schedules and charts and a whole host of other factors that must be considered when a project is being managed. This planning is pivotal in the realm of project management. A project cannot be properly managed unless the proper planning takes place. As with the rest of the book, Kerzner takes a special interest in detailing the steps that project managers must face as it pertains to the development of the proper plan.

Another important topic that the author brings up is that of risk management. Risk management is an issue that has also received a great deal of attention in recent years. Particularly as it pertains to the types of strategies that an organization chooses to deploy. All projects have some risks involved as it pertains to their deployment and the ultimate result. Kerzner emphasizes the point that risk assessment and management is an important part of project management and must be perceived as such.

In one of the shorter chapters in the book Kerner writes about working with executives. In this section of the book the author emphasizes the importance of keeping the doors of communication open. Communication is vitally important to ensuring that the management of the project runs smoothly. The failure to communicate effectively could endanger the survival of the product and ultimately the bottom line of the organization. In this section of the book the author explains in detail the steps that project managers should take to ensure that they are communicating properly with executives. The author even discusses the ways in which disputes can be handled so that the project does not fall apart.

Contracts and procurement are also serious issues that project managers must address if they want to enjoy success. In this section of the book the author focuses on the importance of understanding the types of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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